Re: Affiliating worth it?
I believe your argument is really about limiting access to the 'brand.' Whether I agree on that point or not, I don't believe that cash should be the discriminating factor.
Different boxes will grow at different rates. The fear of slow growth, when I was starting out, would have discouraged paying the $3k up-front fee. Would I be scared of paying $3k today? No way, because I know that the return is still more than 20x the price (and CrossFit is not our core business, though it does flavour the rest.)
I find myself in a position to comment on the expansion of the Affiliate model because we're at the Big Bang phase ourselves with the Ignite! program. Many want to offer brain training or enrichment courses or cognitive therapies at their gym, but want to be the only one able to do so (they want to protect their turf.) This is understandable, of course, but the Ignite! brand will be worth more to them when it's more easily recognized...and that means more Affiliates. Where, then, do you draw the line on total Affiliates?
As one of our lawyers once said to me, "Do you want this thing to help people, or do you want to spend the rest of your life in court settling territory disputes?"
Growth will be encouraged - or limited - at the street level. At the top, I think it helps us ALL to know that smart, engaged, entrepreneurial CrossFitters like yourself won't be turned away because they're (understandably) afraid of a $3k risk.
One other thing: to the non-businessperson who is inexperienced with cash flow, their experience with handling sums greater than $500 may be limited to the purchase of real assets. The 'value' of a transient licensing fee may not be obvious to them. While I support the rising Affiliation fees for new CrossFit boxes, I also believe that Greg Glassman should make a billion dollars on this; that you and I should make a hundred million for taking the risk before the mainstream; and that we should welcome anyone and everyone willing to take the risk to join our community.